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Cooper, Jahangir discuss reopening process for Nashville

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The coronavirus pandemic disrupted much of what we came to expect from everyday life, but one thing didn't change - the resiliency and courage of many in our community.

Mayor John Cooper and Dr. Alex Jahangir answered questions on Wednesday night about the reopening process for the Music City during the NEWS4 town hall special. We also honored the Frontline heroes during this pandemic. 

City and health officials said there are multiple metrics that are looked at to determine the 14-day guideline to reach Phase 1.

Cooper said they are hoping to start Phase 1 in early May and on Wednesday, they had under 30 positive cases.

“If that were able to continue, I think we would be able to get there sooner,” Cooper said. “The reality is we need a few days of notice before restaurants can hire people back. So I am expecting by next week, you will have a very clear picture about what date Phase 1 reopening.”

Metro Public Health confirmed a total of 2,612 cases of coronavirus in Davidson County. This was an increase of 24 cases in the past 24 hours. There have been 24 deaths reported in Davidson County.

“Healthcare has already began a slow reopening” Cooper said. ”It is good to get some things on their way, so we can feel the effect of the disease in the community as we do a soft reopening.”

POLL: When do you think Nashville should start to reopen?

Nashville has not released a date when the city will reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to know your thoughts on when Phase 1 should begin for the Music City.

You voted:

Cooper explained that he did not want to add any enforcement for businesses that were not following the rules of the reopening.

“People have been great. Enforcement is really education,” Cooper said. 

The mayor said he believed Nashville residents understand that COVID-19 will be with them for a long time. He added the Department of Public Health has been on 400 calls, but those are “mostly education calls” and there has been “marvelous compliance.”

“We are in this for the long run and let’s use our public health as a coach to get us through,” Cooper said.

Tennessee appears to have a much lower death rate than other states with similar numbers of confirmed cases. For example, North Carolina has about the same amount of confirmed cases, but nearly double the deaths. Jahangir explained that the state has been lucky with this, and a higher percentage of cases are between 21 to 40 years old.

“Furthermore, I think we have some great health systems and I know that the major health systems in our community have been able to do some new treatments that are saving lives.”

Jahangir said even anyone, who is worried about this virus, but not showing signs should get tested.

“Now, if you do get tested, you need to self-isolate,” Jahangir said.

POLL: Do you think people, who aren't showing any symptoms of COVID-19, should get tested?

You voted:

Jahangir talked about the antibodies test and said:

“I think antibody test are the right way to go, but right now, we have a way to go. I don’t think we are right there now,” Jahangir said.

The road map to reopening mentions wearing masks in public. On Wednesday night, the mayor said he is recommending, urging, and required at times, the use of wearing masks. Cooper said people should be respectful of our neighbors.

“I think there is going to be a level a social pressure,” Cooper said.

Cooper talked about Phase 2 of the progress and explained why many small businesses are in this category. The choice was made based on if they were essential or non-essential. An essential business is one that you need for the rest of society to go on.

“The effort has been to reduce clustering the amount of social contact that we have,” Cooper said. “And that’s a lot of what is behind essential and non-essential.”

Jahangir talked about the impact of the virus on senior citizens and offered them some advice.

“Stay at home if possible, social distance, but more important for those individuals is their family and friends,” he said.

The family and friends of the seniors are the vector and Jahangir worries that they could pass that virus on to their older relatives.

Cooper also discussed hopefully being able to reopen summer camps, but no date was known at this time.

“The hope is to get through the early stages to where we can again get to a place where we can live with the pandemic,” Cooper said.

The mayor ended by discussing the financial toll the pandemic has taken on Nashville.

“Our business is a national business. We have to bring people here, who feel safe,” Cooper said. “We have to be safe, but also have a reputation for being safe. The last little bit, that 10 percent, won’t come back for a year.”

 

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